New Project--100 Secrets

I've decided to start blogging beyond my traditional news, tech notes, recipes, and reviews topics and create a blog on a specific topic; 100 Secrets to Changing Your IT World. Over the next few months (or as long as it takes, I guess), I intend to bring to life the 100 best ideas and concepts that I've learned over the years. Ideas that anyone can use to improve their IT (or even non-IT) career.

I hope you enjoy it!

Killing a MySQL Runaway Query

I had a client using mysql create an SQL query that was going to result in a few gazillion rows and this query was bogging down the server. Since I use the PostgreSQL command line a lot more frequently than the mysql command line, it took me awhile to remember what to do to find the query that was the problem. It is really quite simple...

Dell Inspiron Mini 910 Review

I picked up the Dell Inspiron 910 Mini for a client and thought I would document my impressions.

The unit was pretty well maxed out on the options with 1gb memory, 16gb flash disk, webcam, and bluetooth. The 16gb disk shows as having 14.3 available of which 10 is free.

The Dell Inspiron Mini (from now on I'll just call it the mini) comes in what can best be described as "mini-malist Dell" packaging. It is well packed in a very tiny box without the usual Dell "onion layers" you have to deal with. (It seems there is a rule at Dell that whenever they ship a Dell laptop, the box it comes in must always be 100 times larger in volume than the actual laptop.) In the case of the Mini, the box is only about 1 or 2 inches bigger in every dimension than the laptop. A little foam sleeve and some foam wrap and that's it! I like it...

Improving Your Zimbra Connector Email Experience While Traveling

I had a client that ran into a problem where he couldn't receive new emails due to a large email with photo attachments slowing things down.

Laptop Zimbra users have the option of only downloading email headers, then they can pick which emails they want to download and read. You normally don't have to do this, but, while traveling, you may find that your connection does not deliver the speed you are used to. When that happens, you can improve your email experience by changing the email mode from "download everything" to "download headers only".

Here's how...

Special Characters in Linux File Names

Occasionally I have to review how to deal with special characters in file names on Linux boxes. Normally, you can just backslash escape the special characters in a quoted name.

If the example file name is: Special File name "test".txt

Refer to it like this: "Special File name \"test\".txt"
and it should work fine.

Sometimes, though, you end up with wildcard characters inside the name and escaping like this won't work. For programs like tar, you can use the --no-wildcards option and it won't expand (wildcard) the names you give it.

You can use the single quote to prevent wildcards from expanding:
'Special File name* "test".txt'
would look for a file with this name:
Special File name* "test".txt

Strange Font Issue on IE6

I had a customer call with an issue with IE6 not displaying a surveymonkey.com survey correctly. Turns out the problem showed up on other websites as well. After googling around for awhile, I figured out it was NOT a problem with ANY of these issues:

  • dll's needing to be applied with regsvr32
  • settings in IE6
  • cookies that needed purging
  • cache's needing clearing
  • temporary folders needing clearing
  • etc... etc... etc...

Turns out the user had turned on the "High Contrast" option in the control panel. To clear it, simply open Control Panel, open Accessibility Options, click the Display tab, and uncheck "Use High Contrast".

Palm Treo 700p Stops Syncing Calendar and Contacts and Switches Sync Type to "Do Nothing"

So I've been using my Palm Treo 700p for quite awhile and never had too many problems with it syncing--and that is a little surprising because I use bluetooth and some other complicated settings.

All of a sudden, I noticed I wasn't seeing my appointments from Outlook in my calendar and my calendar wasn't showing up in Outook. It also affected contacts. I checked and the settings under Hotsync/Custom/Calendar and Contacts where both set to "Do Nothing". I changed them to synchronize, did a sync, and they went back to "Do Nothing". I made sure that I wasn't doing any kind of Exchange sync (that can disable the functionality for syncing to the desktop), but it still wouldn't stay set.

When I went into check some settings for Versamail and for the Verizon sync software, it caused the Treo to reset. I removed them temporarily so that I could continue to figure out what was wrong.

Finally, I did a re-install of my Palm desktop software, set it to sync, then did a re-sync with the handheld and so far it has stuck. I didn't uninstall OR reinstall the conduits--I left them as they were since I didn't have the install CD handy, just the download of the Palm software.

I'm not sure why it stopped, but the palm software re-install fixed it. It may have been that I had turned on Exchange style syncing at some point in testing something for a client and the palm wouldn't let me switch back. The re-install probably fixed some registry settings or something like that.

Updated: It worked for a few more syncs, then went back to blocking appointments and contacts. I had to do a hard reset on the device and create a new user profile. Now it seems to be sticking, after 4 days anyway.

DYMO Label Printing Issues

I was trying to print shipping labels from a VB6 application on a DYMO Labelwriter 400 Turbo and couldn't get things to come out right. What I figured out was that you need to do a few things to get the shipping labels to print correctly. The couple of the most important things are...

SugarCRM; Problem With Browser Showing A Random User as Logged In, After A Different User Logs Out

I've been developing with SugarCRM since Fall of 2006, so I've gotten pretty familiar with the internals. One system I've had in production since February 2008 had been having strange, intermittent problems with users logging off, then the browser immediately showing a different user as logged in. This was particularly evident with users that use Windows CE's browser (we have warehouse barcode scanner guns running Windows CE and laser scanning barcodes using the browser).

This became an even bigger problem when, for security reasons, we shortened the "automatic log off" period in php.ini so that the user gets kicked out after 5 minutes of inactivity.

It took quite awhile to figure out what was happening...

How to Compare and Display Differences Between Two Chunks of Text

One of my clients needed to be able to see the differences between two versions of a database text field. The application was in a module of sugarcrm, but it isn't a sugarcrm problem per se. The database keeps an audit table showing all changes to "audit enabled" fields, so I already had the differences, I just needed to be able to show the user what they were.

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